Filipino boyband JBK and Fil-Australian belter Elysa Villareal made the cut in the reality TV singing competition franchise The X Factor UK.
They join early qualifier and kababayan Gaga Lord in the next round of auditions for Season 14 of the show.
JBK—its name culled from the first letter of the first names of members Joshua Bulot, Bryan del Rosario, and Kim Ordonio—flew all the way from Manila for “almost 24 hours” of travel time to London, the city capital of the United Kingdom (UK).
Elysa, on the other hand, took a similarly long trip from the city of Sydney in Australia, where she and her family are based.
The aspirants’ efforts paid off as they earned the nods of competition judges Simon Cowell, Nicole Scherzinger, Sharon Osbourne, and Louis Walsh.
JBK sang Sam Smith’s soulful ballad "Lay With Me" to show off their vocal harmony and emotional side.
The boys’ performance sent Nicole and Sharon clapping in delight, while Simon nodded in agreement.
“Good for you,” Simon told the band of male singers.
Louis commented: “I love your dedication, flying from the Philippines. It was good.”
Nicole, an American singer and actress whose father is Filipino, remarked: “Oh, boys, you are making all the Filipinos so proud right now.”
Simon delivered the good news: “Four yeses!”—Meaning, all four judges agree the boys passed with flying colors.
Jumping for joy, JBK expressed their gratitude in unison: “Thank you!”
For her part, Elysa impressed the judges with her all-out rendition of the upbeat tune "Sax" by British recording artist Fleur East.
Nicole gave Elysa friendly advice: “Have fun, you came all this way!”
Prior to her audition proper, Elysa was interviewed by X Factor UK host Dermot O’Leary.
Dermot took note of Elysa’s long flight time , and remarked to her, in jest: “You should be in bed!”
The show aired a video showing the many diverse people who turn up at the auditions, saying: “The X Factor UK is loved and watched in over a hundred and fifty countries around the world—and the world loves to audition for X Factor UK.”
Among those from overseas were from Montenegro, Spain, Italy, and Washington DC in the U.S.
Not to mention that JBK came from the Philippines and Elysa, from Australia.
In the Philippines, JBK released a self-titled album in 2015 that contains five songs, including “Ano’ng Meron Ka” and “Letting You Go.”
JBK member Joshua Bulot had played the role of Tolits in the hit musical play Rak of Aegis.
Elysa, meanwhile, has joined other reality TV singing competition franchises The Voice and X Factor in Australia.
In January 2017, she competed in the “Tawag ng Tanghalan” segment in ABS-CBN noontime show It’s Showtime, where amateur singers competed for a prize.